Crispy Chicken Parmigiana
This is the BEST crispy and perfectly Juicy Chicken Parmigiana topped with a rich tomato sauce and a cheese combo that stretches for days! Aussie love a good Parma, Parmi, Shnitty as we call it. It’s a pub favorite and often served with chips but you can serve it with anything you like! My home-made recipe is just as good, if not tastier than what you’ll find at a pub and just as generous a portion as you find in pubs too. Can’t stand a small Parma.
But what is a Chicken Parma? Glorious is what it is 😂. In all seriousness though, it involves three basic things:
- Chicken Schnitzel – crispy, juicy and so tasty!
- Marinara Sauce – also known as red sauce or tomato sauce. You can use store bought, but homemade sauce is so much tastier and it’s easy to make!
- Cheese – I use a combo of cheddar and mozzarella for a stringy, tasty combo!
Some people even add ham in the mix of layers, but it doesn’t need it in my opinion!
If you’re looking for things to serve this with, it goes perfectly with a crispy Garden Salad! We love an Italian recipe at our place so you can’t go past Crispy Sheet Pan Pizza, Easy One-Pot Pasta Bolognese or a favorite at our house on a summer night Bruschetta!
Table of Contents
Get ready for an AMAZING Parma
It’s just everything you love about a pub Parma, but as per usual, making it at home is so much better!
- Well seasoned – in every way! From the crispy crumb coating to the deeply rich sauce, all the way to the two cheeses!
- Crispy AF – and I mean CRISPY! It’s because we dry brine the chicken and then cook to perfection!
- Rich Sauce – making your own sauce is easy, and makes this Parma that much better!
Convinced that you need to make your own parma yet?
How do I stop my Parma from going soggy?
The very very first step is dry brining. If you’ve never heard of this, I hadn’t until recently either. It involves sprinkling your chicken breast with salt and allowing them to rest in the fridge. What the salt does is draw out excess moisture that can potentially make your crispy crumb go soggy. Don’t worry though! You still get a juicy Chicken! Once the chicken has been dry brined, you sprinkle it with flavors, the crumbing process then locks those flavors in so you get a crispy, juicy, tasty chicken breast!
Sauce: Make your own? Or use store bought?
You can use store bought, but why would you? Homemade is ALWAYS better! In this case, making your own marinara sauce at home is easy too. I’ve included a recipe in the recipe card. It has a few simple ingredients in it that you already have. You can make your sauce while the chicken is brining. It will give it enough time to cool. If you want to make your Friday night Parma prep easier, you can make the sauce up to 3-4 days in advance during the week and store it in the fridge! I would recommend making it first before prepping anything else to let it cool down as hot or warm sauce can make your crispy crumb soggy.
Ingredients You Need To Make Chicken Parmigiana
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
- Olive oil – I used extra virgin.
- Brown onion – chopped up.
- Garlic cloves – freshly minced for the best flavor!
- Tomato Paste – This helps add sweetness!
- Italian Herb Mix – We love this stuff in out house. Adds a kick of Italian flavors.
- Salt – I used fine salt.
- Crushed tomatoes – If you want a smoother sauce buy crushed, for a chunkier sauce, chopped will work!
- Basil – Use fresh if you can, the flavor is so much stronger!
- Chicken – I used large chicken breasts that weight about 174g (per breast). To slice them in half, make sure your knife is really sharp and slice as evenly through the middle as you can. That way everything cooks at once.
- Sea salt flakes – or fine salt. Just make sure you get as much of it off as you can once the chicken is marinated. The chicken at this point is seasoned with salt and there’s no need to season it again.
- Garlic powder – not freshly minced garlic as it burns easily.
- Smokey paprika – or regular paprika. I used thyme sometimes too.
- Flour – I used all-purpose flour.
- Eggs – I used large eggs. Whisk them well!
- Breadcrumbs – I used traditional breadcrumbs, but you can use panko if you like.
- Parmesan – optional, but adds more flavor in the breading.
- Vegetable oil – I used vegetable oil to fry the chicken, but you can use canola oil. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil as it is very heavy.
Let’s talk cheese!
I pride myself on grating cheese at home, especially since I found out that store bought grated cheese has additives to stop it clumping together before you buy it. You want to grate your cheese at home because it melts much better and honestly the flavor is so much better too. So take the extra 60 seconds to grate it yourself!
How to make Chicken Parmigiana!
- Add the onions and garlic to a pot and sauté
- Add the tomato paste and herbs and stir until tomato paste begins to bubble.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool completely.
To Prepare Chicken
- Slice each breast in half
- Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Rest in the fridge for 20-60 minutes.
- Dab the excess moisture with paper towels
- Dip in flour
- Then egg
- And finally breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan cheese
- Shallow fry
- Until golden
- Allow excess oil to drain on top of tray lined with paper towels.
- Top with marinara and cheese and bake until melted and golden
- Sprinkle with parsley or basil and serve.
Pro Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!
Prepping the Chicken
- When slicing the chicken – Use a really sharp knife when slicing the chicken in half to make it an easier process. Don’t slice all the way through, you want to butterfly it so it becomes a larger piece. You also want to make sure you cut as evenly through the middle as possible so it cooks evenly.
- When breading the chicken – make sure everything is coated evenly and you shake off excess flour.
Frying The Chicken
- When frying the chicken – Fry on medium/high heat. High heat will burn your chicken crumb before the chicken has a chance to cook. Fry two pieces at a time as to not overcrowd the frypan which can cause the temperature of the oil to drop, resulting in soggy, oily chicken.
- How much oil you should use – depends on the size of your frypan. You don’t need to deep fry your chicken, shallow frying is fine. Just enough oil that one side of the chicken is in the oil and then continues being cooked when turned over.
- When chicken is cooked – lay on a plate lined with paper towels to allow excess oil to drain.
- Grate your own cheese!!! Do not under any circumstances, for any reason, no matter who, or where, or where you are going, use store bought grated cheese which has additives in it to stop it from clumping before you buy it. Home grated always tastes way better too.
- To avoid soggy chicken – assemble the parmigiana, bake it and serve 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven (the sauce can burn the roof of your mouth. They key though is to serve as soon as it’s done and not make it in advance as the breading can go soggy if it’s left around too long.
Frequently Asked Questions about Chicken Parmigiana
How do I store Chicken Parmigiana?
Left over chicken parma can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven.
Can I freeze Chicken Parmigiana?
Yes! Freeze right before baking so that you can cook fresh in the oven and have that freshly made parma experience!
What’s the best cheese to use?
I like using a combo of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, Specifically Colby. And make sure you grate it yourself for the best tasting cheese topping!
Can I bake the chicken instead of frying?
Yes! If you want a slightly healthier version of this you can bake in the oven following my Crispy Chicken Tenders recipe and technique but using large chicken breast. Just use an oven thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked properly/. You want to bake it until cooked and crispy before adding the toppings.
What can I serve with Chicken Parmigiana?
A good crispy salad like my Garden Salad would work just fine! Typically though, if you’re having this at a pub, they serve it with a side salad and hot chips!
More Tasty Chicken Recipes!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @thescranline on Facebook and Instagram!
Crispy Chicken Parmigiana (Pub Style)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium brown onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely minced
- 2-3 tbsp tomato paste best quality you can get!
- 1 tsp Italian herb mix
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 (400 g) can 400g crushed tomatoes or 1 cup passata (canned)
- 2 tbsp basil chopped
- 4 (1 kg) chicken breasts boneless and skin off (about 2.2lbs/1kg)
- 3 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp smokey paprika or sweet
- 2 cups (120 g) breadcrumbs regular or panko (I like regular for this recipe)
- 1/2 cup (50 g) parmesan cheese finely grated (optional)
- 2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 (160 g) eggs whisked
- 2 cups (500 ml) canola oil or vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup (100 g) cheddar cheese grated at home, not store grated
- 1 cup (100 g) mozzarella cheese grated at home, not store grated
- Parsley or basil to sprinkle
- Note: If you want to speed this recipe up, you can use a good quality store bought marinara sauce. But as always, home made is better and this is so easy to make too!
- Add the olive oil in a large saucepan (you’ll need one with a lid) and add your chopped onion and garlic. Mix using a wooden spoon for 60 seconds on medium heat.
- Turn the heat to medium high and add the tomato paste, Italian herbs and salt and stir until the tomato paste starts bubbling.
- Add the crushed tomatoes or passata and basil and stir until mixture bubbles. Turn heat down to low, cover pot with lid and simmer for 10 minutes. The mixture should thicken slightly, reduce, and intensify in flavor. The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets, just take care not to let it burn! Set aside to cool slightly before using.
- To prepare the chicken - Slice each chicken breast through the center using a sharp knife leaving one side intact so that it essentially becomes a large piece of chicken. Lay on a large baking tray, sprinkle both sides with sea salt flakes and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. This will give you a crispy chicken breast.
- Take out of the fridge and pat down with paper towels to dry. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder and smokey paprika.
- To prepare the coatings - Add the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese to a deep sided plate or dish and mix together. Add the flour and whisked eggs into two separate deep sided plates (I used pie dishes) and set aside.
- Grate the cheeses and mix together in a bowl. Set aside.
- To coat the chicken - Dip the cutlets into the flour, coating them well. Gently shake off excess, then dip into the whisked egg allowing excess to drip off, then dip into the bread crumb mixture. Place on a plate and repeat with all the chicken until all the chicken is coated.
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- To cook crispy chicken - Add enough oil in a deep sided frypan to fill 1/3 of the way. Heat on medium heat. To check if it’s ready, dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and if it bubbles, it’s ready. Add 2 chicken cutlets into the frypan at a time. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 73C / 165F. Once cooked, transfer to a baking tray lined with paper towels. Continue cooking the remaining chicken until it’s all cooked.
- Transfer the chicken to a baking tray. Top with marinara and mixed cheese. Place in the oven and bake until cheese begins getting golden on top. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving so you don’t burn the roof of your mouth. Sprinkle with chopped basil or parsley.